Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets Preview and Pick – 29222

Portland Trailblazers (28-22) +7 , 184 at Houston Rockets (30-20), 8:30 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of Predictem.com

One of the hottest teams in the league takes on a team that has cooled considerably since going on a streak of its own when the Houston Rockets host the Portland Trailblazers in a Western Conference bout Monday night.

Houston is listed as a 7 1/2-point home favorite at most Sportsbooks for Monday’s game, with a total of 184. The Rockets are also posted at around -360 on various Vegas moneylines, with Portland getting +285 as road underdogs.

Houston has won six games in a row and 10 of its last 11 after pounding Atlanta Sunday 108-89. So heading into this week’s action, the Rockets occupy fourth place in the Southwest Division, 4 games behind the first-place New Orleans Hornets. And more importantly, Houston is tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with Golden State.

The Blazers made a great run to elevate themselves into Western Conference relevance, winning 17 of 18 games through December into January. But Portland has gone just 6-9 since that run, and has lost two straight after falling to Indiana Saturday 101-93. So going into Monday’s game, the Blazers sit in third place in the Northwest Division, four games back of first-place Utah, and are two games behind the Warriors and Rockets in the race for the eight-spot in the West.

These two teams split four games last season, but Houston has taken the first two games vs. Portland this season, by scores of 89-80 and 89-79. Both games easily stayed under their totals, as the Rockets shot just 40% from the field in the two games together, the Blazers just 38%. And in the last six meetings between these two teams, the o/u has gone 1-5, as those games have averaged just 175 total points.

Also, Houston has out-rebounded Portland in five of those last six games, but the Blazers have covered the spread in four of those games.

This season, Portland is 26-23 against the spread, just 8-16 straight up but 12-12 vs. the numbers on the road.

On the other side of this match-up, the Rockets are also 26-23 ATS this season, 14-9 SU and 11-11-1 vs. the number at home.

Houston ranks 12th in the league in point differential at +2.9 per game, the Blazers 14th at +.4.

Portland is shooting 45% from the floor this season, 38% from long range and 77% from the line.

On the other end of the court, the Rockets are shooting 45% from the field, 34% from beyond the arc and 73% from the stripe.

But while Houston leads the league in rebounding at +3.8 per game, the Blazers rank 24th at -2.1 per game.

Portland guard Brandon Roy, who’s leading the team in both points and assists, missed the Blazers’ last two games, both losses, due to family-related reasons. But he is expected to be back in the starting line-up Monday night.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Rockets 11th at 93.4, Portland 14th at 90.3. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.0.

The o/u is a combined 41-57 in Houston and Blazers games this season. Rockets games are averaging 192 total points, while Portland games are averaging 189 points.

Zman’s Pick: The Rockets are RED HOT and the Blazers aren’t very strong on the road. I think that Houston wins by double digits here.